Home > Robert Godden > When I support you, I support myself

When I support you, I support myself

Last week, when asked what social media means to me, I chose to answer that I think it is all about support. That’s right; I think the whole SM spectrum is just one big support group.

Take self-support – members with issues helping members with issues. Look at the thousands of organisations that run that way, for every possible variation on the human condition. Alcoholics Anonymous. Parents without Partners. Business networking groups such as Leads Club (the common issue being “I want more business”). Bereavement groups for those who have lost a partner, or an infant child.

Or then there’s community support – the Apexes and Rotaries. Those who band together to help others, but are also in effect supporting each others’ belief in the way things should be done. (Sometime people join the latter type as a way to get business. They tend to self-identify and disappear pretty fast. That sounds familiar to anyone on Twitter, surely?)

Or even support of your wild and crazy hobby. I mean, if you want to spend $2000 on a remote control aeroplane, everyone around you will think you’re nuts. But if you go to a gathering of like-minded souls, you get the reassurance and validation that your bemused or even shocked friends and families cannot provide.

All of those groups can be replaced, enhanced or facilitated through social media.

Yesterday I ordered 50 grams of tea for $21. That’s $420 per kilo. I bet many readers will think “Oh, so this article was written by a loon”. But when I mentioned it on a tea social media site, the only comments I got were of the “Well done, I wish I had done that “variety.

Yes! There are social media sites entirely devoted to tea. And in fact, everything else.

I’ve dabbled for years in Social Media, and for me, it was mainly about business, and doing my job. I am a prodigious user on LinkedIn.com, and I dabbled in both Facebook and Twitter.

But a while ago, I suffered somewhat of a professional reversal during the GFC, and found myself, in partnership with my wife, working very hard on building a business from a home office.

We worked together 14 hours per day in two separate home offices, and occasionally saw a potential (or even actual) client.

During that time I dived into Twitter. And I did an odd thing. I started helping people, with advice, or information, or a joke to cheer someone up, or even just a kind word. Of course, I have never met, and will never meet, most of my online friends.

But to me, with my personality type, the fact I could help gave me enormous validation and satisfaction. I like to go to work and do a good job, and I work in one of the more human professions – Human Resources. At a time when I did not have much of that to make me feel good about the world, Twitter was a mental lifeline.

Of course, things are much improved now, with several thriving businesses and I feel back on track. But I have continued to share and help on line.

Have you ever noticed how the Stock Exchange invents money? A company is worth x, and then they are worth y. The total value of the stock exchange goes up, but no-one has actually printed any more money.

In the same way, Social Media is a Support Exchange. The support and friendship we pour into it increases as if my magic; and we all feel that much better.

-Robert Godden

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